Lambda School and Burnout (a Sad Reality for Many Students)

The average Lambda School student struggles with burn-out and poor work/life balance.

I took a survey of 50+ students and the majority believes they don’t have time for anything outside of their studies. This is a recipe for disaster as it sets a bad precedent that could haunt you later. How so? I’ll explain. But first, an introduction...

My name is Daniel Wallen and I’m currently in the process of Lambda Labs. We built a healthy habit app called Refresh (which you probably figured out, considering you're at our blog). Our sole purpose: help Lambda School students and staff build healthy habits that will transform them into strong, energized, more productive beings.

(Later in this series, we’ll get deeper into the exact habits you need to excel in every aspect of health.)

Workaholism is toxic and addictive.

Develop the mindset that you must work during every waking moment and you’ll carry that belief system into an employment setting.

You’ll find yourself coding, answering emails, and debugging disagreeable components at home when you should be sleeping, reading, or spending time with your family.

There are many articles about the top regrets of people on their deathbed and a highly common one is, “I wish I didn’t spend so much time working.” Besides, excessive work quickly becomes counterproductive.

Have you ever had a horrible night where your mind wouldn’t be quiet, so you were forced to work with little-to-no sleep? And if so, would you say it was harder to focus due to the physical and mental exhaustion?

Code is exhausting by nature.

I don’t know about you, but my stress levels go through the roof when code doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. This is especially true for React.

The syntax is so particular you could spend hours staring at error messages before the app finally says: “Okay, I know what you want me to render for the user… here you go!”

And don’t even get me started on Redux (or state management in general). That stuff scares me more than Pennywise the clown.

When your mind gets tired, it slows down your workflow.

And when the speed of your workflow declines, it drastically increases the time it takes to complete a task. Something that would take an hour when you’re feeling refreshed could take an entire day when you are mentally depleted.

Oten, the most productive thing you can do is walk away from your computer and do something completely unrelated to code… preferably a healthy activity that refreshes your internal system so you can return with a more positive and inspired mindset.

Pardon the boast, but I perceive myself as an expert in this regard. Prior to Lambda School, I worked as an online coach and fitness blogger for several years. I’ve guided a lot of clients and readers through the habit change process.

And I walk the talk.

At a minimum, I work out for an hour every day, and it’s never stopped me from meeting a deadline. On the contrary, exercise clears my mental fog in a way that makes me less vulnerable to procrastination and distractions.

Of course, exercise isn’t everything. Other habits, such as meditation and staying hydrated, are equally important. But let’s save that chat for another day. We’ll discuss technical stuff next time.

For now, I challenge you to be hyper aware of your mental state.

How do stress and exhaustion influence your productivity?

At what point does your pace slow down? “Pace” can be measured by how long it takes you to read the Training Kit (TK) material or complete the assignment that directly follows lecture.

Once you reach a certain point of tiredness, are you truly absorbing the content, or is it exiting your brain as soon as you read it? Test yourself by trying to articulate the topic in your own words approximately ten minutes after reading.

On a scale from 1-10, how would you rank your current physical and mental health? Be honest.

Do you want to boost your total wellness, both physically and mentally? If so, come back next week and we’ll get to work.

In the meanwhile, why not download the Refresh app? We'll help you change your habits by providing gentle reminders on your phone.

Also: it's like a video game! You'll earn points and rewards everytime you follow-through with those notifications.